One photographer’s view of the upheaval and return of Echo Park Lake

A peak through the green construction screen that enclosed the lake for about two years/Martin Cox

Old lotus bed/Martin Cox

The past several years found photographer Martin Cox obsessed with his new subject: Echo Park Lake. After living within sight of the lake for many years, Cox began to actively document images of the historic heart of the neighborhood in 2004.

“I began taking pictures around Echo Park in about 2004, and became very interested in the secret life of the birds and other animals of the lake. When the lotus began to die and the paddle boats were with drawn, I got more involved.”

In all, Cox has taken about 4,000 photos of Echo Park Lake. Not even it’s closure about two years ago for a massive clean up stopped Cox from taking photos. Now, as Echo Park Lake 2.0 prepares to welcome visitors with sparkling, cleaner water and pristine lawns, Cox  has compiled some of those images into the first of two online books, with the first part focused on the park’s decay and demolition and the second, yet-to-be finished book to feature the reconstruction of the park, the refilling of the lake and the return of wildlife and public.

“It a kind of keepsake of the lake’s upheaval and return,” Cox said.

Here’s a sample of those 4,000 images:

Shopping carts, skateboards, a few guns and even a 19th century wagon wheel revealed themselves as the lake was drained/Martin Cox

Office chair in exposed lake bed with park bridge in the distance/Martin Cox

Palm shadow on cracked lake bed/Martin Cox

Concrete poured to create new retaining wall around the perimeter of the lake/Martin Cox

Click here to browse more images of Cox’s “Metamorphosis: Echo Park Lake Renewal: Part One”


  1. Well, the park opens tomorrow so all you do-gooders and all you bigots when you see me walking with my children be sure to put your heads down and lead by example.Be sure to pick up your trash ,so all of us native Angelenos know what to do! See you guys tomorrow.

  2. Oh, and be sure to pick up your dog poopoo!

  3. Fantastic photos Martin!

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